By | January 16, 2024

**Houthi Militants Strike U.S.-Owned Ship in Gulf of Aden**

In a troubling development, Houthi militants attacked a U.S.-owned and operated container ship with an anti-ship ballistic missile on Monday, according to U.S. Central Command. The vessel, identified as the M/V Gibraltar Eagle, was struck at approximately 4 p.m. local time. The missile was fired from Houthi-controlled areas of Yemen, further escalating tensions in critical Middle Eastern waterways.

Thankfully, the ship has reported no injuries or significant damage and is continuing its journey, as stated by U.S. Central Command. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operation confirmed that the ship’s captain reported being hit from above by a missile on the vessel’s port side.

This marks the first time that an American-owned ship has been targeted by a Houthi missile during the Iranian-backed militia’s assault against maritime traffic in the waters surrounding Yemen. Mick Mulroy, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East and an ABC News analyst, described the attack as a blatant act of terrorism. He emphasized that the Houthis are using violence against a civilian target to advance their political aims.

The United States and the United Kingdom have already taken action in response to the escalating situation. A volley of U.S. strikes aimed at diminishing the Houthis’ capabilities was followed by several retaliatory attacks by the Yemeni militia group. These attacks included targeting a U.S. destroyer on Sunday and striking an American-owned commercial ship in the Gulf of Aden on Monday.

Despite these measures, the Houthi militants continue to pose a threat. Gen. Douglas Sims II, the director of operations of the Joint Staff, acknowledged that the U.S. has degraded the group’s capabilities but emphasized that more needs to be done. He suggested that the U.S. should target radar, launch, and storage sites along the Yemen coast of the Sea of Aden, just as they did on the Red Sea coast.

The situation remains grave as the Houthis have vowed to continue their attacks until Israel ends its siege on Gaza. However, it is important to note that many ships struck by the Houthis have no connection to Israel, according to the Israeli government and international shipping registries.

As tensions escalate in the Gulf of Aden, the international community is closely monitoring the situation and exploring ways to de-escalate the conflict. The safety of maritime traffic in this critical region remains a top priority for all involved parties..

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